Rough Point, Newport, RI, is found at 680 Bellevue Avenue on this southern New England resort island. It is one of dozens of Gilded Age mansions found here. It is owned and maintained by the Newport Restoration Foundation.
This was the home of Doris Duke, the philanthropist and animal lover.
European art and Chinese porcelain fill the house. The landscape architecture found here was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, designer renowned for his works that include New York's Central Park and the Boston Commons. The formal garden has a geometrical layout. The grounds afford panoramic views of the ocean from the seaside end of the Estate.
A vegetable garden is still maintained here. Its yields are donated to local food banks.
Rough Point dates from 1887 when it was built for William H. Vanderbilt. It is styled as an English country manor.
In 1922 James B. Duke purchased the house. Duke carried out extensive renovations which were finished in 1924, one year before he died, leaving the home and his wealth to his 12 year old daughter, Doris.
The antiques and artwork which are on display here today are a combination of pieces that Ms. Duke bought beginning in the 1950s and family heirlooms. Since Duke's death the house was left to the Restoration Fund which has owned the site for roughly 20 years with the commitment to maintain it as a museum as the owner had requested. Since 2000 it has been hosting visitor tours.
One hour tours are guided through the first floor and the upstairs bedroom of the Duke heiress and the exhibit galleries at Rough Point, Newport, RI. The exhibits here periodically change. There is air conditioning throughout the building.
From early April through early May, the house is open for tours on Thursday - Saturday, from 10 AM until 2 PM only. From mid-May through early November it is open from Tuesday - Saturday, from 9:45 AM until 3:45 PM. It is closed in other months. During the busy season there is a Gallery Night held once a month at this museum.
Rough Point, Newport, RI admits children under 12 years of age for free. Tickets to visit this house can be purchased individually or as part of a discount package to see this and another one of the sites run by the Restoration Foundation.
Rough Point is wheelchair accessible. Group tours can be arranged of the site for lower admission fees than individual entry to the house.
There is parking available at this location however vehicles that are 32 feet long or larger are not permitted onto the property. Nor are they allowed to discharge or board passengers on Bellevue Avenue according to local zoning laws.
Bellevue Avenue, the road where this house is found, is also home to numerous eateries, galleries and shopping boutiques.